Chris: Here’s a short, first person bit about me.
I’m the editor of the Mail & Guardian Online, the digital presence for the best investigative newspaper in South Africa. I also contribute to a bunch of other publications, online, offline and inbetween. That’s because writing funny stuff is what I love. So I’m a columnist on the web and on paper. But if you want a longer bio (some people crave facts), read on for that odd third person variety of autobiography favoured by many.
Third person long-winded account
Chris Roper has an extensive background in print and online, and believes passionately in the virtues of both types of media, if indeed they are different. Great content is always great content, only delivery platforms and revenue streams differ.
He was the founding portal manager of Vodacom World Online, responsible for the launch of the South African portal for Dutch company World Online (later Tiscali). He moved to MWEB, where for 7 years he was portal manager for SA’s biggest ISP, and for a long time the biggest website in South Africa.
He was with 24.com, South Africa’s biggest portal, in its various iterations, for nearly ten years, filling various roles. He has been portal manager for MWEB Africa, Editor Social Media at 24.com, and Editor-in-Chief at 24.com.
He has overseen many Media24/MWEB projects, such as the first local blogging platform (MWEB Blogs), and the creation of numerous new sites and applications, in areas ranging from online learning to youth projects, hard news (notably Tiscali World Online News, MWEB News, 24.com News, and now the new, in-development Mail & Guardian news site) to entertainment, to mobile and Web 2.0 products. The last two years have been spent building up the multimedia offerings on 24.com, and specifically working within the Media24 group to grow video and broadband products.
The intersection of print, television and online brands is a particular area of interest, and time spent consulting to Naspers companies in Sao Paulo, San Francisco and Sandton has been highly informative with regards to the odds of symbiotic survival for those archetypal rivals, the dead tree and grey plastic industries.
He has kept his hand in at print, and has worked for many publications over the years, including Consulting Editor to SL, Cape Editor for Y magazine, Editor on Obrigado (PICA Entertainment Magazine of the Year in its first year of existence), Arts correspondent for the Mail & Guardian for ten years, and monthly columnist for a variety of magazines including Style, Drive Out, Femina, Shape and Best Life.
In 2008/2009, Chris was one of News24′s most popular weekly columnists, was in 2008 named as one of SA’s ten most influential bloggers by Moneyweb, and is the 2008 holder of the PICA magazine columnist of the year award. Being active in all three of those platforms means that he can speak to oldschool website devotees, new-fangled Web 2.0 mavens, and disgruntled paper people as an equal, which saves a lot of time when you’re trying to get them to work together.
When a committed writer for print, he received two Mondi award nominations, including one Mondi silver Features Award for Cosmo Man, and a few PICA awards, details of which he has unfortunately forgotten, except for the 2008 Columnist of the Year award.
Recently, he was the recipient of a US State Dept grant enabling him to spend time at the headquarters of Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. He blogs on www.chrisroper.co.za, and you can follow him on Twitter @ChrisRoperZA. He is currently the Editor of the Mail & Guardian Online.